During the 2019 Texas legislative session, several lawmakers to try to eliminate vehicle inspections. But so far, they haven’t been passed. Many lawmakers used the argument that it was a “tax on the poor” and modern vehicles don’t need inspections. But, the reality is that eliminating the inspection program would end up costing the state and residents. A study released in 2018 by the Texas Department of Safety demonstrates the importance of the vehicle inspection program. After conducting a thorough investigation of the costs and safety impacts of eliminating motor vehicle safety inspections for passenger vehicles, the study team identified how inspection programs benefit Texas residents directly and indirectly.
Some key findings from that study were:
- Average crash costs related to vehicles with defects (vehicle elements that would have failed a program inspection) are more than $2 billion per year.
- Crashes involving vehicles with defects are twice as likely to result in a fatality.
- The most prevalent type of defect related to fatal crashes is slick or defective tires.
- Inspection station owners would lose net revenue of over $131 million per year.
- Texas would lose about $150 million per year in revenue.
- Vehicle owners would save $307 million per year.
The study found that vehicles with defects that were involved in crashes are three years older than the average registered vehicle, which is nine years old. In other words, the percentage of vehicles with defect(s) and had crashes is higher for older vehicles. This highlights the importance of the Inspection Program to help ensure the key components like brakes, tires and suspension of old vehicles are in good condition.
Since the Texas Department of Safety had access to crash and vehicle registration data, they discovered vehicles from other states that are involved in crashes in Texas, the percentage of vehicles with defects is lower for those states that have vehicle safety inspection requirements than states that do not. This indicates that a safety inspection program helps reduce the number of defective vehicles on the road.